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Internship profile: World Relief case worker

January  08, 2014

Elizabeth Johnson's internship working with refugees and immigrants
made her more confident about her career goal of mission work.

Elizabeth Johnson with friends from World Relief.

Johnson was a case worker intern for World Relief, a not-for-profit agency serving Western Illinois and Eastern Iowa. Every day, she would take people to health clinics and grocery stores, to apply for food stamps and to attend orientations to help them learn about their new home in the Quad Cities.

"Most days I would spend a fair amount of time in the office doing administrative work and teaching job classes," she said. "I was also put in charge of teaching a particular family English, which I especially loved."

Johnson, a senior, is majoring in anthropology major and minoring in Africana studies, so many of her classes prepared her for dealing with people from other cultures. She also spent a term in Ghana, Africa, where she learned about the various religions and cultures of other countries.

"I loved the other interns and the employees of World Relief! Johnson said. "They challenged my creative abilities and stretched me beyond my comfort zone, and I'm so thankful for that.

"I also really loved the connections I made with the refugees in the community. Teaching English helped with that, but just being able to spend quality time with them really opened my eyes to the trials some are forced to endure."

She said her internship affirmed her career goals of pursuing some form of mission work, although she was surprised at the amount of paperwork involved.

"Working at a non-profit Christian organization helped me see the ins and outs of what a job like that would look like," she said. "I now have a better understanding of every aspect of World Relief, which will be extremely beneficial when applying to work there after college."